Category Archives: Biography

Plant of the Month: March 2019

As I have mentioned in passing before, the botanist Pierre Magnol (1638–1715) was born in Montpellier, and spent most of his life there. His father and grandfather were apothecaries, and his mother’s male relatives were physicians. His older brother César … Continue reading

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Ruskin at Two Hundred

To London last week for a few days of Culture. I decided to go down the night before my first assignation, rather than turn up at Two Temple Place (which does not have cloakroom facilities) with two stuffed gorillas and … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: February 2019

I first came across William de Morgan in the second-hand bookshop in the stables at Wimpole Hall, an alarming number of years ago. His novel, Alice-for-Short (published 1907), was available for 50p, and I availed myself, drawn mostly by the … Continue reading

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The Artichoke

I have been to Strawberry Hill twice now, and on both occasions the weather was foul. Luckily, the house is well signposted from the station, and barely five minutes’ walk away, but I really must try and get myself over … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: January 2019

A lot of choice, during this (so far) mild winter. I wondered about Sycopsis chinensis, of which the yellow filaments are currently glowing @CUBotanicGarden, or one of my own winter-flowering clematis, but – not only because it is glorious in … Continue reading

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Woman’s Work

… (a) is never done, proverbially, and (b) consists of cooking, cleaning and home-making (oh, and child-bearing), traditionally. Therefore it is always interesting, and sometimes quite astonishing, to come across a historical figure who worked in a role which, according … Continue reading

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A Bizarre Story

Thompson Cooper (1837–1904) was the son of Charles Henry Cooper (1808–66), the distinguished Town Clerk of Cambridge, whose historical and biographical works on the city are still a major source of information. From 1842 to 1853 he published four volumes … Continue reading

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